The Supreme Court expressed its ‘anguish’ against the inaction by Municipal Corporation of Mumbai in acting against unauthorized construction carried out in 1990-1993.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul led bench was bearing in mind a bail application filed by Ali Akbar Shroff, a Trustee of Bai Kesarbai Dharamshey Khaku Charitable and Religious Trust, against whom FIR was lodged after unauthorized portion of the construction of the building owned by the Trust collapsed in July 2019 causing death of about 13 people. Earlier, the Bombay High Court had rejected the bail application of Shroff.
“It appears that unsanctioned construction was made in this building, the building was already being quite old and that unauthorized construction was also let out. The Municipal Corporation of Mumbai appears to have been ignorant over the matter as no action was taken against the unauthorized construction for years together as this unauthorized construction is of vintage 1990-1993. So much for the functioning of the Corporation.”, the bench, also comprising Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy remarked in the order.
“We may, with anguish, note that different bodies have failed to perform their functions in ensuring action against unauthorized construction resulting in the tragedy. We don’t even know whether any one from these authorities will be made answerable for what has happened and whether the police have booked any of the officers who were responsible for taking action at the relevant stage of time but failed in their duty.”, the court added.
Granting him bail, the bench noted that the accused had throughout cooperated with the investigation and was never arrested. He remained in custody for seven months and we really do not understand what prompted the police to arrest him on the date the charge sheet was filed, the bench said.